Retrofret Stock # 3954. A. Di Mauro Grand Bouche Style Model Gypsy Jazz Guitar, c. 1960's, made in France, dark brown varnish top, natural back and sides finish, laminated mahogany back and sides, solid spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard.. Apart from the extremely rare and valuable original Selmer/Maccaferri instruments, authentic French guitars intended for the Django-derived Gypsy Jazz style are very little known in the US. While the original Selmers -- the "gold standard" of this type of instrument -- are currently reproduced by makers all over the world today, many native French builders have, since the 1930s, created their own itinerant variations of the design. Antoine Di Mauro was one of the earliest and most celebrated French luthiers to market his own Selmer-style guitars, beginning in the mid-1930s. Di Mauro guitars were played and heard alongside the more expensive Selmers in the cafes and theatres of Paris from well before WWII, and earned a reputation as fine working player's instruments. These Di Mauro "Manouche" guitars, alongside Busatos, Favinos, Geromes, and of course the original Selmer/Maccaferri design, constitute the most interesting and distinctive flowering of French lutherie in the 20th century.Antoine Di Mauro was born in 1900 in Catagne, Italy, eventually settling with his family in Paris in 1932. Like a number of other Italian luthiers, he was soon operating a successful guitar building shop, soon including two of his three young sons. The Di Mauros built many types of guitars and other stringed instruments, but were especially renowned for their several distinct models based on the Maccaferri design. Antoine died in 1975, but the Di Mauro shop continued into the early 1990s under the management of his son Joseph before closing for good in 1993.This Di Mauro jazz guitar, dating to the 1950s or '60s, is a fairly close if simplified copy of the early style large-sound hole "Grand Bouche" Selmer. The ladder bracing is more conventional than the elaborate Maccaferri pattern, and there is of course no internal soundbox. The solid mahogany neck is quite chunky, thicker front-to-back than a Selmer with a deep "C" profile. The simple carved rosewood bridge and trapeze tailpiece are also more conventional, and the top, while subtly arched, does not have the mandolin-like bend that was a feature of the original design. A shell celluloid pickguard is inlaid into the top, and the top and sound hole are multiple celluloid bound. This is a powerful-sounding if perhaps somewhat less sophisticated "Gypsy" guitar, and sounds quite at home in a number of musical styles. Currently strung with Selmer-style silk-and-steel strings for the authentic "Django" sound, this guitar is also suitable for regular steel-core strings, which give it a more robust tone. A rare and interesting 20th century European guitar, seldom seen in the US.Overall length is 38 5/8 in. (98.1 cm.), 16 7/8 in. (42.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 in. (10.2 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/4 in. (641 mm.). Width of nut is 1 13/16 in. (46 mm.). General play wear overall; top has some added varnish. Fittings and hardware appear original. Recently refretted. A fine playing example of a very rare guitar...especially outside of Europe. Very Good + Condition.
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